Nonlinear model of attention focus during accumulated effort

Natàlia Balagué, Robert Hristovski, Daniel Aragonés, Gershon Tenenbaum

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Objectives: The emergent nature and dynamics of Task-Related Thoughts (TRT) during accumulated physical effort was used to test a model of attention focus based on the application of nonlinear dynamic systems theory (NDST). Design: A one-group two-trials quasi experimental design was employed. Methods: Eleven physically active participants ran twice on a treadmill at an intensity of 80% of their HR max until voluntary exhaustion. During the first run their intrinsic dynamics of attention focus was established. Accordingly, during the second run they were asked to intentionally maintain Task-Unrelated Thoughts (TUT), and reporting back about spontaneous switches from TUT to TRT, and vice versa. Results: Results revealed that the intentionally imposed TUT was stable at the beginning of the test, switched spontaneously to TRT with accumulated effort, competing with TUT and showing metastability, until a final TRT state prevails. Conclusions: The observed phenomena points to a nonlinear dynamic self-regulation of attention focus during accumulated effort.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)591-597
Number of pages7
JournalPsychology of Sport and Exercise
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 2012
Externally publishedYes


  • Accumulated effort
  • Attention focus
  • Metastability
  • Nonlinear dynamics
  • Spontaneous emergence


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